Panthers Bears Football

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is pressured by Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short, an East Chicago native, during the second half of Sunday's game.

Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press

CHICAGO — This was not a postgame stat sheet you'd want to hand deliver to defensive tackle Kawann Short at his locker.

Maybe text it or email it from a safe distance.

Those upstart Bears had beaten the Carolina Panthers, 17-3, with 14 points coming off turnovers.

What we had here was complete domination by Short and his unit — in a losing effort.

"We just can't show up and not play," the East Chicago native said. "It's gonna take all three phases to get the job done."

Read 'em and weep:

Carolina had a 20-5 advantage in first downs, out-rushed the Bears 108-68, out-passed them 185-85, held the football 17 minutes longer and enjoyed a 69-37 advantage in total offensive plays.

In adding to Carolina's embarrassment, Mitch Trubisky attempted only seven passes, the fewest by an NFL quarterback since Tim Tebow had eight against Kansas City in 2011.

"He was poised out there and as a rookie quarterback, that's surprising," Short said.

The Panthers are now a minus-nine in turnover margin, which is totally out of character.

"I'm positive, man," Short said. "We needed this, probably as a wake-up call, to get where we need to go. We'll see what kind of a team we are now."

Had it not been for rookie safety Eddie Jackson's two touchdown returns — 75 yards on a fumble by Cam Newton and 76 yards on a pick — the game might've gone to overtime knotted at 3-3.

But the fast-improving Bears were on the showboating QB like a grass stain, smacking him around and sacking him five times.

His 54.9 rating was well deserved.

"I'm not feeling sorry for myself, nor do I expect anyone else to. Life goes on and we have to get ready for our next opponent," Newton said.

He gave no credit whatsoever to Bear defenders.

"We were playing at a high level and hitting on all cylinders," linebacker Leonard Floyd said.

It was Eddie Jackson, a true feel-good story, who put the biggest smile on Bears' fans. This was a script writer's dream.

Jackson had dropped to the fourth round of the draft because of a broken leg suffered Oct. 22 of last year while returning a punt at Alabama. He's back now and with a vengeance.

"I've dealt with adversity before and that's one thing I can credit Alabama on. They help you fight through adversity," Jackson said. "I've been through a lot of stuff in my life, so that was just a minor stepping stone."

Jackson became the first player in NFL history with two 75-plus yard touchdown returns on defense.

"It's a blessing," he said.

Short had one of his team's four sacks Sunday and refused to use Carolina's injuries as an excuse.

"I feel like if any of the guys on our defense went somewhere else, they can start and be dominant," Short said. "We follow the mentality of next guy up and have faith in the second backup to the last backup."

Short's 19 tackles and four sacks this season may surprise some fans with lofty expectations of the E.C. Central grad, considering his five-year, $80.5 million deal makes him the third-highest-paid defensive tackle behind Miami's Ndamukong Suh and Philadelphia's Fletcher Cox.

Well, "KK" has a message for them.

"Those guys don't know football," he said. "You do what you need to do and keep helping this team win and that's what I've been doing thus far.

"If I'm letting other people down who don't see what's going on on the field, then they don't know the game of football."

For their information, Short's 21 sacks since 2015 are the second most by a defensive tackle.

His total of 26 ranks him eighth among Carolina's career leaders — in just his fifth season.

You may apologize now.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

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